The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Strike highlights plight of farm workers

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 15 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - A strike over low wages on a farm earning hard
currency, acquired by a government parastatal, has underlined the precarious
existence of Zimbabwe's farm workers.

The horticultural farm at Kondozi in the eastern province of Manicaland was
reportedly seized by armed men in April on behalf of the Agricultural Rural
Development Authority (ARDA), despite the property being designated an
Export Processing Zone and therefore not liable for compulsory acquisition.

ARDA slashed the workforce from the 5,000 prior to the occupation to around
150, and reclassified those as basic labourers entitled to a lower wage,
according to the General and Allied Plantation Workers Union (GAPWUZ).

"They were initially agro-based workers receiving about Zim $130,000 [US
$23] per month because they are involved in processing, but ARDA turned them
into general agricultural workers and is paying them Zim $72,800 [US $13] -
that's why they had to engage in this industrial action," GAPWUZ official
Gift Muti told IRIN.

Some 1,500 workers living on the farm were displaced by the farm takeover,
and around 3,500 from outlying areas lost their jobs.

According to a report released last month by Refugees International, a
pattern of displacement has accompanied the government's controversial land
reform programme since it began in 2000, creating a population of more than
150,000 homeless former farm workers.

"The government of Zimbabwe refuses to acknowledge that their implementation
of the land redistribution programme has caused forced displacement. To
further compound the issue, governmental authorities have increasingly
restricted access to farming areas by humanitarian agencies and independent
analysts, making it difficult for the displaced and other vulnerable groups
to access humanitarian assistance," said the report.

Displacement has also been due to economic conditions on the redistributed
farms, Refugees International noted. It identified five groups: people
"internally" trapped, who are unable to leave the farms; people displaced
temporarily to forested or uncultivated areas; returnees to communal areas;
peri-urban squatters; and refugees and economic migrants.

Some have found employment with the newly resettled farmers, but the
relationship has been hit-and-miss, said GAPWUZ. A number of new farmers
have been able to afford the minimum wage, with others offering payment in
kind. Out-of-work former farm labourers who have stayed in the rural areas
have turned to the informal sector, selling produce or panning for gold.

Refugees International called on the government to acknowledge the
vulnerability of former farm workers and allow humanitarian agencies to
provide direct assistance to them. It also recommended the formation of
mixed needs assessment teams with local NGOs, investment in skills training
and education for those farm workers who have not been retained in the
commercial agriculture sector, and to provide them with access to land.

The report also called on the government and the United Nations to jointly
undertake a comprehensive vulnerability assessment in the commercial farming
areas, rural communal lands and informal settlements.

IRIN was unable to get a comment from Zimbabwe's ministry of information.

For more information see:
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Zimbabwe: Mugabe Appoints Committee to Prepare for General Election
Peta Thornycroft
15 Sep 2004, 17:46 UTC

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has appointed a committee to oversee
voting boundaries for the general election next year. The opposition says
appointment of the committee, without consultation, is a violation of
electoral principles that Mr. Mugabe agreed to at a recent regional summit.
Mr. Mugabe has appointed high court Judge George Chiweshe to head a
commission to draw up constituency boundaries for the general election next
March. Mr. Chiweshe's impartiality has long been questioned by legal
analysts and human rights lawyers.

Zimbabwe's main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC,
charged that the Mugabe-appointed commission will not be impartial.

The MDC's legal secretary, David Coltart, said Mr. Mugabe had agreed, at the
recent Southern African Development Community summit, that next year's
election would be overseen by impartial electoral authorities to ensure that
it would be free and fair. Creation of the new commission, Mr. Coltart says,
goes against what Mr. Mugabe signed on to.

In August, the MDC said it had suspended participation in all elections
until the government reformed election laws and repeals what it terms
repressive media and security laws.

The MDC is concerned about the drawing up of voting districts in Zimbabwe.
It says establishing voting boundaries is vital to a fair election because
most urban dwellers support the opposition, and many rural areas support the
ruling ZANU-PF. In the disputed presidential elections of 2002, hundreds of
thousands of potential urban voters were refused registration or were turned
away on polling day.

Reginald Matchaba Hove, chairman of the non-governmental organization
Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, said the appointment of the commission,
without consultation, was a betrayal of the commitment Mr. Mugabe made at
the SADC summit to adhere to its electoral principals.

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'Media an Instrument for Peace, Democracy'

The Herald (Harare)

September 15, 2004
Posted to the web September 15, 2004


VISITING Angolan Minister of Social Communication Mr Hendrick Vaal Neto
yesterday described the media as a vital element in the stabilisation of a
country in times of war and an instrument for national reconciliation for
peace and democracy.

Speaking at a meeting between representatives of the Zimbabwean and Angolan
public media, Mr Neto said the media in his country played an important role
in bringing harmony after the end of hostilities between his Government and
Unita rebels.

"I must emphasise here that when we talk of the media, we are also referring
to the private media, which, in Angola has expanded significantly,
particularly concerning the written Press and radio, which have played a
crucial role in the process of consolidation of democracy," he said.

Mr Neto said information played an important role in the process of
integration and co-operation between Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) member states.

"Therefore, a qualitative and quantitative strengthening of co-operation
between our countries is needed in the specific area of the media, the only
means by which we can reduce geographical distances and overcome
differences," he said.

"We cannot hope the foreign media, managed largely by the great powers with
their own interests, who are often self-serving, will come to our aid so as
to implement this desideratum."

Co-operation between Zimbabwe and Angola, the minister said, should be based
on distribution of information and journalists, professional training and
training courses, exchange of trainers and technical assistance and coverage
of events.

He said Sadc had to preserve its fundamental values that defined its African
identity and soul.

Speaking at the same meeting, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Professor Jonathan
Moyo, said developing countries should never expect the world media to tell
their own stories.

"As developing countries, we have challenges of resources. It is, therefore,
prudent for us to leverage our resources and, taking advantage of digital
opportunities that we can use, to communicate not only to tell our story,
but to also empower our people so that they can celebrate their identity and
be proud about their uniqueness," he said.

Prof Moyo said Zimbabwe and Angola shared the same history of a liberation
struggle which brought about independence.

"So, we have common liberation routes and it is from these routes that we
have, as a people, established liberation regimes and we are proud of the

Prof Moyo said it was through the media and information that the two
countries could share experiences.

"Cde Minister, you will recall that during the liberation struggle we had a
challenge of telling our own story because the conventional media was not
interested in us telling our own story," he said.

"When they told our story, it was distorted, they misrepresented it and in
the end the liberators had to tell their story outside conventional media.
It was not through the BBCs and CNNs of this world or such other media, but
it was through person to person, fighting and living with the community they
were living in."

Earlier during the day, the Angolan minister and his delegation visited the
National Heroes Acre and Hangaite Farm near Bindura in Mashonaland Central
Province to see the success story of the land reform programme.

Mr Neto said the impression he got after visiting the farms was that
Zimbabwe was poised for a bright future.

Mr Neto and his delegation are today expected to tour Zimpapers and New
Ziana and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries is
expected to be signed by the two ministers.

The MOU would be on co-operation in communication, professional training and
training courses and exchange of trainers, among other areas.

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Full dams of no use to parched Harare folk
          September 15 2004 at 01:02PM

      More than half of Harare's four million residents are either
chronically short of water or without any at all, two weeks ahead of the
hottest month of the year.

      Hardest hit are the poorest, many of whom now have to endure raw
sewage running past their homes.

      Nowhere in Zimbabwe is the incompetence of the ruling Zanu-PF
administration more visible than in the crumbling infrastructure in what was
once one of Africa's neatest cities.

      Although dams feeding the city are full, they are polluted by
untreated sewage. This week Psychology Chiwanga, the director of works at
the Harare Municipality, said water would be cut off every afternoon until
the situation improved.

      He also announced the municipality had borrowed about R48-million from
the government to revamp the infrastructure which has been allowed to
crumble for the past 24 years.

      But sources in the water and sewerage department, which falls under
Chiwanga, said much more money was needed to revamp Zimbabwe's water
purification and distribution system.

      In fact, they said, there would be no end in sight to Harare's water
woes until the government completed the Kunzvi Dam whose construction has
not even started despite having been commissioned five years ago.

      "We need an alternative source to Lake Chivero (which supplies Harare)
and, if resources permitted, a whole new and modern purification and
distribution system should be installed at the new alternative source," said
one engineer.

      He said the water purification and distribution infrastructure in
Harare had broken down and it had become extremely difficult to treat and
maintain pure water till it gets to the end user.

      The distribution piping was so old and ill-maintained that 35 percent
to 40 percent of purified water was lost to underground leakages.

      Another engineer said: "They should at the very least allocate more
resources to enable us to undertake a comprehensive leak detection exercise.
Unfortunately all the resources are being spent on debts and water treatment
chemicals that are also in short supply."

      For people in the high density suburbs, that means little, as they
have taken the law into their own hands.

      "People dug a hole in the municipality's pipe under the ground, and we
take the water from there. If we don't we will die," said Masimba Chayemba,
17, with a group of about 40 residents in Mabvuku township 20km south-east
of the city. - Foreign Service
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SADC steps in to curb FMD

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 15 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - The animal disease control department of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) has endorsed a US $2 million
loan to Zimbabwe in an effort to curb the spread of foot-and-mouth (FMD) and
other diseases.

Zimbabwe has experienced sporadic outbreaks of FMD in the past few years,
but has failed to bring it under control due to a lack of cash to buy

"The department was assured of the facility by SADC officials and it is
hoped that the funds will assist in the buying of relevant doses to contain
the foot-and-mouth disease and other related animal diseases," the director
of Zimbabwe's veterinary services, Stuart Hargreaves, told the state media.

The loan is part of a US $10 million SADC scheme to help member states
combat livestock diseases. Other countries that would benefit from the
project were Botswana and Malawi, Hargreaves said, as both countries had
experienced similar outbreaks in recent years.

Authorities in Zimbabwe welcomed the move, noting that some of the money
would be used to construct dip tanks and put in place infrastructure for
newly resettled farmers who had benefited from the land reform programme,
which began four years ago.

"There is a need to assist new players who have since adopted a beef
rebuilding programme," added Hargreaves.

Zimbabwe, once a major supplier of beef to the European Union (EU) was
forced to halt exports a few years ago when FMD began to take its toll. It
has failed to resume the trade, as the disease remains endemic in parts of
the country.

But according to Malvern Muleya, a veterinary specialist in southern
Zimbabwe, the area hardest hit by FMD and an outbreak of anthrax, the SADC
loan was too little to make an impact.

"It's a welcome move, yes, but I don't think it [the money] will help a
great deal because there is so much that needs to be done to make sure FMD
and other diseases, like anthrax and tick-borne [ones], are brought under
total subjugation. What the government probably needs to do is to mobilise
for more resources and start providing chemicals to peasants farmers to dip
their cattle," Muleya told IRIN.

Muleya said the government stopped providing small-scale farmers with
vaccines and dipping chemicals two years ago.

Last year alone experts reported that a combination of FMD and recurring
drought had killed more than 50,000 animals in Matabeleland South province,
on the border with Botswana. The region, which is Zimbabwe's principal beef
producer, has suffered sporadic cases of FMD over the years.
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Zimbabwe's inflation rates falls
          September 15 2004 at 05:40PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation fell to 314 percent in
August, less than half its January peak of 623 percent, according to
official figures issued on Wednesday.

      The state Central Statistical Office said August's inflation fell 49
percent from 362 percent in July and marked the seventh consecutive month
that the rate had fallen.

      Prices between July and August rose five percent, compared with 10
percent the previous month, it said.

      Economists said the year-on-year rate is still one of the highest in
the world.

      Inflation has been accelerating since 2000 when a campaign of violent
repression by the regime of President Robert Mugabe triggered economic

      Since then, gross domestic product has fallen 30 percent, winning
Zimbabwe the distinction of having the world's fastest shrinking economy,
while the value of the currency has plummeted to a hundredth of its previous
value while unemployment soared to 80 percent.

      The government claims that a clampdown on financial racketeering and
tough new monetary policy has started an economic turnaround. It forecasts
inflation will fall below 200 percent by the end of the year.

      The International Monetary Fund has said however that the principal
causes of inflation, chiefly reckless state spending, arbitrary government
controls and the flight of foreign investment remain unchanged, and warns
that little change can be expected until issues of political governance are
deal with.

      On Tuesday, Mugabe announced that the government would soon seize half
of the shareholdings of mining companies. He was quoted in the
state-controlled daily Herald on Wednesday as saying the government was
moving to control the mining and manufacturing sectors that allegedly had
been sabotaged by greedy individuals.

      Agriculture, the backbone of what five years ago was, after South
Africa, the continents most robust and diverse economy, has collapsed since
2000 when Mugabe ordered the illegal seizure of productive white-owned farm

      International aid agencies say the country is entering its third
successive year of famine. - Sapa-dpa
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Zim mines 'heading for doom'
15/09/2004 08:13  - (SA)

Kodzevu Sithole

Harare - Zimbabwe's planned interference in the privately run mining sector
could spell the end to the country's only remaining prosperous sector,
observers said on Tuesday.

This followed reports that government of President Robert Mugabe will soon
lay claim to half ownership of all the country's privately-owned mines.

In the process Mugabe will be shifting his focus on local ownership of the
country's resources from land to the mining sector.

He told attendees at an awards ceremony at a rural school: "There can be no
absolute ownership of natural resources in Zimbabwe.

"Land is not the only issue that needs reform. There are still many other
issues we have to address, like the mining sector.

"We will ask that government be given a 50% share in the mines."

According to the state-owned The Herald Mugabe said in countries such as
Botswana, mining activities may not start before government owns half of the

And to back up the plan, Zimbabwe recently had new mining legislation
published, which stipulates that 49% of all mines must have local ownership.

Observers say Mugabe's latest statement is expected to raise a great deal of
controversy, especially among the international mining companies that do
business in that country.

These include South Africa's Impala Platinum, Rio Tinto from Britain, Delta
Gold from Australia and Falcon Gold from Luxemburg.

In reaction to the legislation, Impala Platinum, a majority shareholder in
Zimbabwe's Zimplats said it would hold back on the R4.7bn expansions it had
in the pipeline until a specific agreement could be put in place between
South Africa and Zimbabwe that addressed things like ownership.

AngloGold Ashanti, another South African-based resources group, announced
last Friday that it would be selling its Zimbabwean operations to a local
company, Mwana Africa.

According to observers the planned interference in the privately run mining
sector, could mean the end of this prosperous industry.

Mguni Menzanise, an economist, said the mining sector was the only one in
Zimbabwe that remained dynamic despite the problems it experienced.

He said that if government took over the mining sector, it could have
devastating effects.

A number of mines that were controlled by the state's Zimbabwe Minerals
Development Corporation have already been forced to shut down because of

"One can just look at what government did to its own mines to see a good
example of how to run things into the ground," Menzanise said.

Mining companies suggested to government that the 49% empowerment plan be
lowered to 40% and that foreign companies be allowed to look for black,
local shareholders over a period of time.
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From The Daily Mirror, 15 September

James Makamba loses multi-billion property - fined Z$7m for dealing in forex

Takunda Maodza

Businessman James Makamba has lost his multi-billion-dollar investment at
the Mazowe farm he was leasing from the government, following an eviction
notice served on him last week. A letter from the Department of Special
Affairs in charge of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President's
Office, said Makamba should vacate the farm in Mazowe District with
immediate effect. However, he has seven days to contest the decision to
contest the withdrawal of the government's offer of the farm to him and he
has already done so. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to the government
contesting the decision. It never rains but pours for the Zanu PF Central
Committee member, who was also slapped with a $7,3 million fine for
illegally dealing in foreign currency. The State has since lodged an appeal
against Makamba's acquittal on charges of externalising millions of dollars.
In a letter dated September 8 and signed by the Minister of Agriculture and
Rural Development, Joseph Made, Makamba was notified of the government's
withdrawal of its offer letter for Maryvale Estate to Makamba. Made signed
on behalf of the Minister of Special Affairs, John Nkomo, who was said to be
on leave. "Pleased be advised that the Ministry of Special Affairs in the
President's Office in charge of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement is
withdrawing the offer of land made to you in subdivision of Maryvale Estate
Farm in Mazoe District in Mashonaland Central. "You are forthwith required
to cease all or any operations that you may have commenced thereon and
immediately vacate the said piece of land," read Made's letter. It did not
give any reasons why the land was being taken away.

Makamba is said to have borrowed $5 billion dollars from the Commercial Bank
of Zimbabwe when he built the state-of-the-art Blue Ridge Spar Mazowe
Supermarket, which was officially opened by Vice President Joseph Msika
early this year. The debt has since escalated to more than $9 billion, after
his family failed to service it when Makamba was in custody for the better
part of this year. Makamba is resisting the order to move and has since made
representations to Nkomo's department. He said he had done everything to
satisfy the requirements for farmers allocated land under the land reform
programme to be allowed to stay on the farm by working productively on it.
"We have done more than that," said Makamba, who also contested that he had
been allocated another farm in Mashonaland East. Information availed to this
paper yesterday indicate that Makamba harvested 394 bales of cotton last
year and will be recognised for this achievement at a function to be held
soon. He also harvested 17 tonnes of sugar beans, 225 tonnes of seed maize,
180 tonnes of soya beans and 35 tonnes of commercial maize. Makamba still
has 50 hectares of wheat about to mature and 10 hectares of cabbages.
Preparations to plant soya beans are already under way. Contesting that he
had been allocated another farm in Mashonaland East, Makamba's family
claimed that the only other property he owned was a plot he bought around
1999 along Mutoko Road, after accessing a loan from the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe. The government had also shown no interest in it. According to the
family, the government order to vacate the premises would see 397 farm and
shop employees losing their jobs.
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MDC Harare North Constituency
Trudy Stevenson MP



5.30 for 6.00 – 8.00 pm

Isaac MATONGO – National Chairman, MDC
Dr Lovemore MADHUKU –Chairman, NCA
Mike DAVIES – Chairman, CHRA - to confirm
Mrs DANDAJENA –Chairwoman Harare Province, MDC
Trudy STEVENSON – MDC MP Harare North – Host
A New Zimbabwe, A New Beginning
Please pass this message on to others - Thank you.

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Plane Forfeited in Accordance With International Law - AG

The Herald (Harare)

September 15, 2004
Posted to the web September 15, 2004


THE Attorney-General's Office yesterday said the forfeiture to the State of
the Boeing 727-100, which brought the convicted mercenaries to Zimbabwe in
March en route to the Equatorial Guinea to allegedly stage a coup, is based
on international law.

Provincial magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe ordered the forfeiture of the
plane last week when he sentenced the leader of the mercenaries, British
national Simon Francis Mann, to seven years in jail, two pilots of the plane
to 16 months in jail and the other 65 mercenaries to 12 months in prison.

Acting Attorney-General Mr Bharat Patel said the forfeiture of the plane was
according to the law and it now follows that the plane belongs to the
Government of Zimbabwe.

"As far as our laws are concerned, we applied for the forfeiture of the
plane and it was granted by the court," said Mr Patel.

He said any material that was used in the commission of a crime could be
forfeited to the State if the court grants such an order.

"However, if anyone has an interest in the forfeiture, they have up to three
years to apply for the reversal of such forfeiture," said Mr Patel.

Mr Patel said such persons have to prove that they did not know that the
plane was to be used in the commission of a crime.

The Boeing 727-100 plane, worth about US$3 million and the US$180 000 the
mercenaries had on them were forfeited to the State after their conviction.

The plane is registered in the United States.

Investigations showed that it was operated by the United States Air Force as
an element of the National Guard from 1985 to 2002.

It was purchased by National Airlines from Boeing in 1964 and then sold to
Intercredit Corp by PanAm in 1985.

It was then sold by Intercredit to Boeing Military Airplane Company.

On October 3 1985, Boeing sold the plane to US General Services

On January 1 2002, US General Services Administration sold the cargo plane
to Dodson International Parts, which in turn sold it to Dodson Aviation on
January 4 2002.

The plane was seized after its crew made a false declaration at Harare
International Airport.

When it was impounded by authorities, the plane was carrying a consignment
of six AK-47 assault rifles and 45 000 rounds of ammunition, some Browning
pistols, 20 KPM light machine-guns and 30 rounds of ammunition.

It was also carrying rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank weapons, 2x60mm
mortar tubes, 80x60mm mortar bombs, 1 500 hand grenades and 20 Icarus

When sentencing the mercenaries, provincial magistrate Mr Guvamombe said
only the men's personal belongings would not be forfeited.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's son, Mark Thatcher, has
been named in the alleged coup plot and has been arrested and questioned by
authorities in South Africa.

Fourteen suspects are standing trial in Equatorial Guinea for the attempted
coup plot.

They were arrested two days after authorities in Zimbabwe nabbed the
mercenaries when their plane made a stopover to pick up weapons in Harare.
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